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By James Wright

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,

Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.

And the eyes of those two Indian ponies

Darken with kindness.

They have come gladly out of the willows

To welcome my friend and me.

We step over the barbed wire into the pasture

Where they have been grazing all day, alone.

They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness   

That we have come.

They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.

There is no loneliness like theirs.   

At home once more,

They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.   

I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,

For she has walked over to me   

And nuzzled my left hand.   

She is black and white,

Her mane falls wild on her forehead,

And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear

That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.

Suddenly I realize

That if I stepped out of my body I would break

Into blossom.


James Wright, “A Blessing” from Above the River: The Complete Poems and Selected Prose. Copyright 1990 by James Wright. Reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.

Source: Above the River: The Complete Poems and Selected Prose (1990)

Poet Bio

James Wright was born in Martins Ferry, Ohio. He served in the U.S. Army during the Second World War before entering Kenyon College, where he received a B.A. He went on to the University of Washington for an M.A. and Ph.D. Wright studied under John Crowe Ransom and Theodore Roethke. He worked at several universities, including the University of Minnesota—Minneapolis, Macalester College, Hunter College of the City University of New York, and State University of New York at Buffalo. 

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